Blog #Alcoholic


27Oct

Connie, grew up in a dysfunctional home with an abusive alcoholic father. His actions, left her with emotional scars which caused her to believe lies about herself.


Connie Tresedder
Contagious Life & Purpose---Author, Coach, Trainer & Speaker

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth."  (Psalm 139:14-15)

The third born of three and only daughter in my family, I am an out-going, funny, joy-filled lover of people. I love to teach and interact with others. I have taught at the college level for over 20 years; taught junior church at my local congregation for about 15 years; and a youth group for high school and college age students. I currently lead a women’s group which encourages us to find and move forward into our God-given passions and purpose. What most people don’t know is that I suffered from low self-esteem for much of my life. People who know me now would be shocked to hear me say this. By listening and watching me speak, most would think I’ve never had a problem with confidence. Just the opposite is actually the truth.

This is because I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my father was an alcoholic. When he wouldn’t come home after work, we knew he was at the local bar drinking. My mother, two brothers and I would spend the evening with a knot in our stomachs. We never knew when he would come through the door but we knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant when he did. I went to bed scared many nights. My father never physically abused me, but those of you that have suffered verbal/emotional abuse know that this leaves scars as well. My father would become physical sometimes with my brothers and mom. I don’t remember ever sleeping through the night if I went to bed when my father was still at the bar. He was loud, angry, and cussing when he would return home. Often he would make my brothers get up and out of bed. I would lie in my own bed listening, worried for my brothers. He usually just opened the door of my room and swore at me as I pretended to be asleep. Besides speaking words to me that I cannot imagine uttering as a parent, my father never seemed to have any use for me. I did not feel valued by him in the least.

These types of nights weren’t the only thing that caused me to be nervous as a kid growing up. I felt the need to keep all of this from my friends. It is not an easy secret to hide when you live in a small town. What would my friends think if they knew? I was convinced their parents would put an end to our friendship if they knew what went on inside my home. I felt ashamed for having a father who drank and acted the way he did. I was in elementary school when I realized the way my dad treated us was not “normal” compared to what I witnessed at my friend’s homes.

I will be forever grateful for one of these homes I was invited to for a neighborhood Christian kid’s club. I attended every day for a week when I was in 5th grade. The gospel was shared with us through stories each day. I remember on the last day having the opportunity to invite Jesus into my heart. I had never heard the “Good News” before. Though I had been baptized in a Lutheran church as a baby, we had never attended church since moving to Michigan when I was six years old. Little did I know that day when I raised my hand while all heads were bowed, and prayed the prayer of salvation, that my life would be changed from that moment on. But, that is exactly what happened.

The challenges in my life did not magically disappear but everything felt different. I knew I was not alone. I knew there was someone to help me get through the challenges. I knew there was hope for my future. I asked my mom to buy me a Bible and she got me a teen version of the Living Bible. This was so easy to understand and had devotional type readings throughout. I devoured the Word like someone receiving water in the desert. Looking back at my life I see so many answers to my first prayers. God had a specific plan for my life and he has been so faithful leading me along my life’s journey. Each chapter has built upon the last. In this season, I am being used as a Christian life coach and speaker to bless others. As God would have it, I end up being blessed as well. It is exhilarating teaching and encouraging others to step into their purpose for this season in their life. I am so humbled when God uses me to help someone identify and move past what has them “stuck” in one area or another. This includes facilitating inner healing for past wounds at times, or helping someone re-wire their brain so that worrisome, negative thoughts don’t hold them back. I am discovering God puts us in community with others so that we can all keep moving forward in His plan for us.

Back in 5th grade, the same family that invited me to the Christian kid’s club, started bringing me with them to church. It was a Bible teaching, evangelical church where I soaked up truths about God like a sponge. Though I strayed somewhat in high school, I still read my Bible every night. I know now that Jesus never left me, but just patiently waited for me to turn back towards him, which I did when I found promises in His Word that I couldn’t deny. I remember thinking, "Why am I making choices that go against God's Word when...I could be living for Him completely, and receiving ALL the blessings He promises?" I had no mentor or adult helping me come to this conclusion, but I’m convinced people somewhere were praying for me. John 14, is what He used to get my attention. The whole chapter is full of promises, but my teenage heart really soared at the truth of verse 13, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”. Truthfully, this verse still makes my heart soar. I now know the power the Comforter promised in this chapter. I know how to listen, be taught by, and receive the peace offered by God’s Spirit. I understand that God intends to do life together with us and that his plan is above and beyond anything we can imagine.

When I was a young college student God started the process of supernatural inner healing for my childhood wounds. I came to the revelation that the way my father treated me was more about him than me. I understood that my father was broken inside and probably full of self-loathing.  Though I don’t know what events or circumstances played a part in my father’s brokenness, God taught me that hurt people, hurt others. God cultivated a compassion in my heart for my father and I was able to forgive him. When I look back now, I realize this is nothing short of a miracle for God to give me so much grace to act maturely at this young age. This was such a blessing because the last three years of my father’s life we became closer than we had ever been. I had finished my undergraduate degree and got married a few years before my father was diagnosed with cancer. He stopped drinking and underwent surgery and treatments. The next three years, was a roller-coaster of emotions. He would respond well to a treatment, and we would all be filled with hope only to have the treatment stop responding several months down the road. Up and down we went, but I am so grateful for the time I and my husband had to spend with him and my mother. We enjoyed time together doing fun things like playing cards, going to movies, and eating good food. My dad was fun! Who knew? He absolutely loved my husband, and I felt like my father was proud of the woman I was becoming. I cherish the memories from this season and am so thankful I chose forgiveness over bitterness.

How could I not forgive my father when my heavenly Father forgives every one of my sins beginning back in 5th grade? I knew full well that Jesus had paid the price for not just my sins but my father’s sins, as well. I am confident that my father is in heaven because he was able to receive this great gift. This isn’t to say I haven’t had to deal with some issues throughout my life. I explain in my upcoming e-book, how all our experiences throughout life make us believe things. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the things we believe are lies!  The tricky thing is, when we believe a lie, we don’t realize it’s a lie because we believe it! I love helping people uncover these lies and receive healing like I did myself. When my own father didn’t value me, I believed the lie that no one else would. Why would anyone find value in what I taught or shared? How convenient it would have been for satan if I had continued to believe this. He could have stolen my calling, my voice, and my purpose, but that wasn’t my story. Healing and re-wiring our brains is a continual process, and I am ever so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of people's spiritual growth and healing.   

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11Aug

Dana Repetti, grew up in a dysfunctional home filled with hate, fear, alcohol, abuse, and witchcraft. Her childhood caused her to have overwhelming fear, and she became a people-pleaser with a very low self-esteem. At the age of seventeen, Dana had her first abortion. Through it all though, Dana, has learned about the beauty of God's love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. She is now helping others to do the same and has written a wonderful personalized devotional called "Being Immersed in the Father's Love".

Dana RepettiDana Repetti

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalms 27:13)

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1)

I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I was a very depressed child and full of fear. My perspective on life and how I processed life was through a very negative lens and filter. Even though I was saved at the tender age of twelve, there were a whole host of strongholds that I would have to take captive to the obedience of Christ throughout my lifetime.

When I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my mom prayed that the memory of what I had endured as a child would be wiped clean. That all I would remember was from Salvation onward. I must confess I only have glimpses of my childhood.

What I do remember is that my dad was a very angry man. He was very scary to me when he got upset. Growing up in my house there was a saying, “Children were to be seen and not heard!” and I never felt as if my opinion mattered, or that I had a voice. My self-esteem was very low. I really did not know how to think for myself. I was very much a people pleaser. As long as I did everything right, I was a good girl, but if I did something wrong or that appeared wrong, I would pay the consequence. As a little girl, it felt as if it was the end of the world. I always wanted to do everything right. This perception would carry on well into my thirties. It would take a very long time to find my voice and for God to bring me into what His thoughts were towards me and what His word says about me.

My mom was a very depressed mother and wife. I always had the feeling that she hated me. When I would look into her eyes, they appeared very dark and I saw such hatred. It felt as if she wanted to kill me. I’m sure that was not the case, but it was how I felt during those years of my life. I hated going to sleep for fear that in the middle of the night; something or someone would come in my room and hurt me. I would sleep with the covers up to my neck; face the door so I would be able to protect myself, still totally frightened. It felt as if I never slept. This went on from the age of five, until I was twelve.

My mother dabbled in the occult. She would have séances, levitate, have premonitions, consult palm readers, psychics, read tarot cards and play the Ouija board. There was a lot of demonic activity in our home to say the least. She also was an alcoholic and was suicidal. I would come home from school and find her at the bottom of the basement stairs blacked out, not knowing if she was dead or alive. I remember being afraid all the time not knowing what the next day would bring.

My parents would argue and fight, which seemed like all the time to me. It was very intense and very loud. There were so many sayings in my family growing up like; we’re loud, we’re Italian, that’s how we talk, if the truth hurts, each followed by very negative, outspoken comments. No! All of which consisted of arguing and verbal abuse, yet while not understanding that as a child and living through it. I thought that was normal. There was one time my father came home from work and found my mother sitting on the floor in the corner of their bedroom, in the dark with a scotch glass in her hand. She was drunk and they began to argue. This argument must have been so intense because it is etched into my memory. My mom threw the full scotch glass at my father. I ran to my room like so many other times and would pray that God would make it stop, that they would not get divorced. I was always so frightened and living on the edge. I did not realize at the time that I was a depressed little girl as well.

I was raised as a Catholic while growing up and went to a Catholic school. Very often before heading to school, my mom would play a song from Helen Reddy, “I am woman”, and she proceeded to tell my sister and I, never to forget that we were women. There was one day my mom was so angry, I can’t remember why, but she told me she hated me and to go, get out of the house and go off to school. I remember feeling devastated. My fears of her hating me were becoming true. I was so broken that I hated the day I was born. I remember saying to God, “why, why was I born into this family. I wish I had never been born.” Sad I know. Around this time in my life, I was in a store and I saw a keychain with a witch on it. So I purchased it and I gave it to my mother and said, “This is who you are to me” and sang her a song called Witchy Woman. After I told her again saying, “This is who you are to me!” She said,”I know.” and proceeded to hang it on the knob of the kitchen cabinet. So there it stayed.

As I stated earlier, I don’t have a lot of memory of my childhood, but I remember feeling very dirty whenever my dad would hug me. As a little girl, I remember finding Playboy magazine’s under his bed on his side. For some reason, I always was able to relate to someone who was sexually abused. I only have glimpses of certain things and questions as to why I would feel so hated during those years. Before my dad passed away in 2010, I felt impressed by God to speak to my dad and released him from any torment he might be going through, from guilt of the past. I was so nervous, but I knew it was something I had to do. My dad had leukemia and meningitis to the point that it affected his brain. In the past, if I would have brought this up, he would have been on the defense and reacted angrily. Instead, he allowed me to share all my questions and concerns. I told him that God wanted me to come to him so he could be released of anything that may have taken place in the past that if anything did occur, I had forgiven him. It was the most loving and freeing time I had ever had with my dad. He had no such memories. I am sharing this to show the goodness God has to tend to the issues of our hearts. He took care of my father’s heart as well as mine. I watched God be faithful to His word in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” My dad went to be with the Lord two weeks after my visit. Gods timing and ways are perfect. I have learned to trust and obey Him even when it’s scary.

At the age of ten, I was about to make my first communion. I always loved God. He placed within me a heart that loved Him and always wanted to help people despite what I was living through. The night before I was to make my first communion, I prayed that God would allow me to die in a car accident. I thought if I died on my communion day, then I would go straight to heaven and would not have to go to purgatory. My understanding was that people had to pray you out of purgatory; after all...my mother was a drunk and she hated me, while my dad only went to church on Christmas and Easter. In my mind, I would be stuck in purgatory forever and never make it to heaven. I prayed and prayed and was so disappointed when it did not happen.

Two years later, I am now twelve years old. My mom made the decision that she is going to take her life. She said that she had such a sense of peace in making this decision, and we were all better off without her. That day, God interrupted with His divine appointment. She was in a store that morning and she ran into a cousin of hers that just moved into the area we were living. Being polite, my mom invited her over for a cup of coffee. Her cousin had given her heart to the Lord and was a born-again Christian. She began to share with my mother about how much Jesus loved and cared for her and how He died to take away her sins and redeem her life. The whole time her cousin was talking, she thought she was crazy, while she knew the plan she had in her head to take her life. As her cousin was leaving, she said to my mom, “Marge, Jesus loves you. He truly does. Just give Him a try, ask Him into your heart and to forgive you your sins.”

That evening, my mother could not get out of her mind what her cousin shared with her earlier that day. She cried out to the Lord and said, “Ok Jesus, if you’re real like Alice says you’re real, I ask that you forgive me of all my sins and come live in my heart.” She began to feel a hand go over her mouth trying to suffocate her. During this struggle, she kept hearing her cousin’s voice in her mind saying, “say Jesus is Lord!” She began to scream in her head, “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord!” At the end of the struggle, she saw in her mind’s eye a vision of Jesus with His arms wide open saying, “Marge, come to me. You’re my child.” The next day, my mom poured out all the alcohol we had in our house (we had a fully stocked bar) and threw away her cigarettes as well. My father thought my mother had a nervous breakdown and he was very angry. After all, that was a lot of money to throw down the drain. My mom’s old man (spirit) died that night and she became a new creation. The power of sin and death over my mother was destroyed that evening, through the blood of Jesus Christ. My mom went to her cousin’s house the next morning, banging on the door saying, “What did you do to me?” Her cousin began having bible studies with her, praying and taking her to church. One night after my mom got home from church, my father put my mother up against the wall and said, “It’s Jesus or me!” my mom said, “It’s Jesus” and he let go of her. So now we are going to check out this church my mother is going to, making sure she is not involved in a cult. My dad would say,”I was born a Catholic, I will die a Catholic.”

In July of 1974, a Friday evening, we visited the church my mother was attending on Tuesday’s and Friday’s. I was amazed by the love, joy and peace these people had. I wanted what these people had. I asked my mother if I could go to the altar and receive Jesus in my heart. At first, she said “no”, nervous of what my father might do. My father would not think twice about hitting someone if he felt like they were bothering him or his family. He grew up fighting people his whole life. I asked again and this time my mom said “yes.” As I went up, a young man asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I responded yes!

Well, my dad was furious. He went up to the altar to grab me away from these crazy people and when he went to grab me, I immediately got filled with the Holy Spirit and he fell. My father tried again twice to get me and each time he kept falling down. He would look around, but there was nobody there. God was trying to get his attention, and that He did. My father gave his heart to the Lord that evening as well. God is amazing.

The Lord answered my prayer that evening. When I was ten, I wanted to die and go to heaven, fearful of being in purgatory. Two years later, my old man (spirit) died when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was forgiven, redeemed and had the promise of eternal life. I no longer worried about not making it to heaven.

I continued to live in joy and happiness like I never experienced before. Things were so much more hopeful and peaceful. I would attend church every time the doors were opened. I was involved in Sunday school and went on to eventually teach the two-to-four year olds who attended. I was also, involved in a youth group and helped with VBS. Life was good.

Then at the magical age of fifteen, this young man liked me. I was so flattered. He was four years older than me and on the worship team. He asked me out to the church’s Valentine’s dinner. The only problem was, I wasn’t allowed to date until the age of sixteen and I was only fifteen and a half. So I did what any teenager would do; I pleaded my cause. What magically happens in six months? After all, I will be sixteen! He’s on the worship team! I wore them down and they gave in. This would be the beginning of compromise entering my life. Slowly he became my everything. I lived to please him. In April of 1980, in my senior year of high school and at the age of seventeen, I became pregnant. I was full of fear and wanted to marry him and have the baby. We were both terrified of what my parents might do. He said my parents would kill us. So the spirit of fear drove us to make the horrible decision to have an abortion. I truly wanted to be married and have this baby. While we drove up to the abortion clinic, there were people with signs outside and one especially, stood out to me, “Mommy, don’t kill your baby”. I was sick. I wanted to die. I wanted to run from this place and I really wanted to be married and have the baby, but fear had the loudest say. This so far, was the most horrifying experience of my life. I came out of that room so sick and hatred immediately filled my heart. I would not be the same person for many years. I still wanted to die. I struggled with thoughts of suicide. The only thing that kept me was the fear of going to hell. I went into a severe depression, where guilt and condemnation were always present within me. My father told my boyfriend that he was to stay away from me, that he did not know why his daughter was so depressed. This caused more hatred to fill my heart towards my parents. I told them I hated them for breaking us up. In my mind, the only way to make what we did right was to eventually be married. This is how my seventeen-year-old mind was processing everything at the time. The enemy had me believing so many lies. I felt as if I could never be forgiven. I murdered my baby.

I continued to spiral downward. I told no one of what I did. The only people who knew were my ex-boyfriend and me. I lived with shame, guilt, condemnation, self-hatred and offense towards my ex-boyfriend for a very long time. This secret seemed to be with me every moment of every day. It was my constant companion, a continual reminder of what a failure I was and that I didn’t deserve to be forgiven. The enemy had gained access of my thought life and I believed every lie he spoke. My heart became so calloused and hardened. I began to run from my thoughts by living for whatever gave me pleasure at the time. I wanted to fit in to this new world I was about to experience. The world of sinfulness. I began to drink, party, do drugs, go clubbing and do whatever I wanted to do. I hated myself. I wanted to hide from anything that had to do with the Lord. This continued for about seven years. The only problem was that God never stopped pursuing me. I couldn’t hide. I had a praying mom and I was continually convicted by the choices I was making. Psalms 139:7-8 & 11-12 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8.) If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there 11.) If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me” 12.) even the darkness will not be dark to You, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.”

I had no rest or peace. My parents were always praying for me. The Lord truly leaves the ninety-nine and goes after the one. At this time in my life, even this disturbed me. My parents would make me go to church and of course, God was always pursuing me, but I would choose to resist. There was a visiting evangelist this one Sunday and after he spoke, he had an altar call. Of course this altar call was for me, but I would not go forward, so he came to me. He said, “Jesus forgives you, now forgive yourself.” I thought if you only knew the extent of my sin, my secret, you would not be saying this to me. I murdered my baby; this is the most unforgivable sin in my mind. I could not receive what this man was speaking to me at this time in my life. My secret had me bound and truth could not enter in.

I grew tired of dating and the life I was living and I decided to pray to God, not believing He would want to even listen to me, but I prayed. I said, “Lord I am tired of dating. If you can hear me, let the next person I meet be the one I marry. I don’t care how long it takes or what he looks like, it can even be ten years from now, just let him be the one. Please, I’m tired.” The very next week, a client who went to the hair salon I worked at, asked if I wanted to go to a Fourth of July party. He was nice to talk to, but definitely not my type. I thought well, God totally did not hear my prayer but I had nothing else to do, so I went. In my rebellion I thought, my parents never like who I bring home...let me bring someone home they truly would not like. After all, I didn’t even like himHe was nice as a friend, but in no way was he boyfriend material. He was extremely wild. The stories I heard scared me. We began seeing each other more and more and before I knew it, we were dating. Then when I brought him home, my parent’s loved him! I said you have to be kidding me; I don’t even ‘like him - like him’. They said, “There is something in his eyes, he seems genuine.” About a month into our relationship, we slept together and I got pregnant. I told him I was pregnant and that I was having an abortion. I had already made plans and my girlfriend would be taking me. He said, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” I said, “yes” and I have already made the arrangements!” I did not even care what he thought. I told him, “I already had an abortion from my first boyfriend, and I am not ready to be a mom!” My heart was so cold, calloused, hard and selfish. My secret was out. He was the only one I had ever told about my first abortion. I went on to have that abortion and we never spoke of it again until...well, I will get to that a little later in my story.

Things began to get serious between my boyfriend and me. He wanted to get married. We were living a partying lifestyle, drinking, smoking pot, snorting cocaine. It was crazy to say the least. All of this while knowing what God wanted. Even though I was living like this in my mind, I could not marry anyone who did not receive Jesus as their Savior. Crazy I know, so I took him to church to see what he would do. I knew in my mind if he did not believe the same way I did, I could never marry him. He was the type of person that would never do something he didn’t want to do. So I knew if he were to receive Jesus as his savior, it would be because he truly wanted to. Well, you will never believe this, that traveling evangelist was at my church again and had an altar call for Salvation. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Would you like to leave”. He said, “No, I want to check this out. I want to go up front.” I went with him and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The evangelist said to him, “Is this your wife?” and he said, “No”. The evangelist nodded his head and said, “someday!”. John drove home that evening and said this was better than any high that he ever had. God had answered my prayer that one night when I said I was tired of dating. John and I have been married for 32 years. We have three children and four grandchildren at this current time.

I would love to say that we immediately served the Lord after John received Christ, but that was not the case. We continued living a compromised lifestyle. Got engaged, got married and four months into the marriage, I was pregnant with our first daughter. We discussed living right before the Lord, now that we would be parents. We had a friend that would come by every Saturday and bring over cocaine. This was my husband’s drug of choice. This one Saturday evening he was over, I went into the bathroom and began to pray. I said, “Lord, we promised to stop this and live for you. Please show up. Let us never do this again. Deliver us.” I started praying in tongues in the bathroom. The gifts of God are truly irrevocable. I went out into the living room where they were waiting for me and I was filled with words of knowledge. Our friend could not open his hand to put the cocaine out on the table. He was flipping out as God was speaking through me. He kept saying, “Man, I can’t open my hand.” John was getting very angry saying, “Put it out!” and his friend kept saying, “I can’t”. Then John told me to “SHUT UP”. Filled with the Spirit, I remember saying, “Satan would love for me to shut up, but I am going to speak what the Spirit tells me to speak”. I continued to speak whatever the Spirit had me speak. At the end of this encounter, John’s friend opened his hand to put the cocaine out and it was all melted. John got delivered that night and we have never touched any drug again after that evening, nor returned to a compromised lifestyle. His friend came to church with us the next day, as he was blown away at the events that took place that evening.

Our journey with God began after that evening. I had asked God to forgive me of my sins, but forgiving me was a lot more difficult. Now would begin a process of many strongholds breaking off my life and my mind being transformed, renewed through the word of God and confession of my sins. I no longer kept what I was struggling with a secret. When we moved to Pennsylvania and got involved in a church, around the age of twenty-eight, we were asked to become youth leaders. My conscious would not let me be free to do ministry with the guilt I carried around of having two abortions. I confessed to my pastor what I had done. He led me in prayer and gave me the scripture in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I read it and thought it was good. It wasn’t until I meditated on what it truly said, that I was set free from the guilt of my sin. It said, “ALL”, unrighteousness, not some. The word ALL jumped off the page. All means all, not some. I began to reason in my mind. If God can forgive and cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness, how can I not forgive myself? Am I greater than God? No, of course not. So I prayed and said to the Lord, “Jesus thank you for forgiving me of ALL unrighteousness. No matter how big the sin, I choose to forgive me! Enable me to love and serve you all the days of my life. I did not deserve this grace and mercy, but I receive it in full measure. I Love you with all my being and I am eternally grateful to you.” It is the truth of God’s Word that sets us free from our own reasoning and the lies of the enemy. God is truth and there is no lie found in Him.

At around the age of thirty-six, John and I went through a program called Cleansing Stream and that was the first time we ever spoke of the abortion we had when we only dated for a month. God brought much healing into our lives at this time.

James 1:2-4  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3.) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4.) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

I have lived through many trials throughout my lifetime. There would be too many to write about in this testimony. From 2008-2015 John and I walked through a very difficult season in our lives. During this time, I chose to rise up in my Spirit man and declare the goodness of God in the land of the living, regardless of the circumstances or outcome. John and I lost our home of twenty-five years due to the economy affecting his business. I was in a car accident in 2012, with no health insurance and during that time, lost four family members to cancer and illness. Out of this, God would have me write a personalized devotional, “Being Immersed in the Father’s Love” in obedience to the Lord’s directive. This is His heartbeat to all His Children. It is a personalized devotional that Immerses you into His kind intentions towards you through His word, no matter what the circumstances. Whether you know the Lord for one day, one hundred years, or not at all, this devotional will touch your life in an intimate way. He is a good, good Father! He orders our steps. The good steps and the hard steps. Receive His love, His truth, and His promises. May every lie be broken and cast down in Jesus name! Amen!   

 


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Description of Dana's Ministry in Her Own Words:

"Come and be immersed in the overwhelming love of God the Father. Encounter His desire and the kind intentions that He has for you through the personalizing of scripture presented in this devotional. Picture a waterfall of God's promises washing over you and fully immersing you through the faithfulness of what He has promised to you in His word. Where negative mind-sets and perspectives will be washed away and replaced with great worth and value. Experience how you will be enabled to have victory in your life even while encountering difficult trials and circumstances. Your trust and faith will increase as you engage with Him. He is desiring you and is willing to give you all that He has promised. Come and encounter the goodness of God the Father and allow Him to lavish His love upon you. All you need to do is be willing to receive what He is providing. He is trustworthy and will not disappoint! Come and be immersed!"      

~Dana Repetti






 




 


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03Jul

Emily's, dark past included many failed relationships, an abortion, addiction, welfare, and single motherhood. She became so hopeless, that she came up with a suicide plan. However, a chance meeting with a stranger, changed her life forever!

"Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved."  (Acts 4:12)

Emily Myers


This is the story of how God intervened in my broken life and turned my past into purpose.....


In 2012, I was a single mom on welfare, unemployed, and addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was hopeless and in despair with a suicide plan, when a chance meeting with a stranger changed my life forever. I met a woman who invited me to an addictions program called Reformers Unanimous at her local church. It was there, that I was faced with the most important decision of my life.


I grew up in a very religious home with a large family. My mom was loving and attentive, but unfortunately both of my parents came from abusive childhoods, and so that cycle continued. My dad drank alcohol every night, and was violent and unpredictable. His unfaithfulness toward my mom affected our family greatly. There was no moral compass or guidance for my siblings and me. My childhood (and eventually adulthood) was marked by fear and mistrust of everyone. I was taken out of the family home several times as a child, living in various institutions.


I spent adulthood trying to escape the pain of my childhood. Failed relationships, abortion, drugs, alcohol, regret, guilt, shame, 10 years of counseling, multiple 12 step groups, false religions, self-help books, and the list goes on. I needed an identity, but couldn’t find one. What was missing? Why did I feel so empty inside? These questions haunted me every day.


By 37, life had come undone. I couldn’t handle one more failure, and the only way out that I could see...was death. I made the decision, that I was going to kill my daughter and then myself. It was no coincidence that shortly after this, I saw a news story about a woman in Florida who had the same idea, however...her son died and she survived. For that reason, I delayed my actions for several weeks and that is when God intervened by putting the Christian woman in my path. She showed me a kindness and acceptance that I had never known. She didn’t judge me, and wasn’t afraid to jump into the mess I had made of my life. If that wasn't enough...she held my hand through the darkness. For the first time, I saw the love of Christ through another person! Curiosity got the best of me, and one night I attended the program. There was a preacher there named Mitch Zajac, who shared his incredible story of redemption. He was as hopeless as I was before he too, was faced with a decision to make. He explained why Jesus came to the earth over 2,000 years ago. He came to seek and to save the lost! I knew I was lost! And, I knew I was broken! He asked me this question with urgency:  "If I were to die in a car accident that night, would I go to Heaven?" I thought I would go to Heaven, but according to the Bible I was wrong. I realized I was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. I had been wrong about many things, but I knew I couldn’t be wrong about that. My whole life hinged on whether I would accept Christ or reject Him! I chose to accept Christ's payment on the cross for my sins, and in that moment...a burden was lifted from me that words can’t describe. Shame and guilt vanished and although, I still had the same problems, I now faced them with a new hope.  


Within a year, God blessed me with my best friend, Andrew, and we have been married 5 years! Our marriage is happy and healthy because God is the best matchmaker! I have been completely clean and sober for 6 years as of 2018! Through Biblical counseling, the Reformers Unanimous program, weekly Bible class, and church services at Valley Forge Baptist Temple, in Collegeville, PA,...I have experienced complete victory over addiction! Most importantly, God gave me a clear conscience after forgiving my sins. The one who made me is the only one who could fix me. God was the missing piece!!



***Valley Forge Baptist Temple in Collegeville, PA***                                                                                     

***Valley Forge Baptist Temple (Biblical Counseling Center)***


***Mitch Zajac, had the opportunity to share his testimony on CBN's The 700 Club this past year. Today, Mitch is a traveling evangelist, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Feel free to contact Mitch for prayer and questions about Jesus and salvation***        

                                                                     

Making a Living from Anger (Mitch's Story)       Mitch's Ministry Site      Talkin' Faith TV Show      

Reformers Unanimous








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03May

Through years of physical and emotional abuse, Surya Nycole, has allowed God to use all that she has gone through for His glory. Today, she has a recovery ministry helping others overcome their life trauma's. Surya is also a worship leader, speaker, and author. Please take some time to listen to Surya's videos. They will encourage you and those you love and care for.



(Mark 8:34-38)   "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”


God uses us! Even in the midst of our sin, our pain, and especially in our sorrow. He uses ALL things for good, not only for those that are hurting, but also for those doing the hurting. Today, I am going to encourage you with one of my many testimonies of how God carried me through, healed me, and helped me grow in my relationship with Him!

It’s no secret that I am a single mother—I never married my son’s father however—my pregnancy was a medical miracle. In the past, I had many woman issues that left my ovaries scarred, and even experienced cancer scares that brought on several surgeries which took half of my cervix. My odds of pregnancy became 50/50—50% chance I would get pregnant, and 50% chance that I would get pregnant, but with extremely high odds of not carrying full-term or miscarrying. I left that appointment filled with sorrow—grieving my dreams of becoming a mother. I knew God, but as any immature Christian, I believed I didn’t deserve to be healed and/or blessed, and that I was the one in control. I began to gather paperwork to start the adoption process for a special needs child and MY plan was to mail it out on my 30th birthday. But even in the midst of my sin, God had a different plan!


Unmarried and in an unstable relationship, I became pregnant in December 2009. Needless to say—I had a high risk pregnancy. I was excited to become a mother, but I feared losing my baby, especially knowing that I did not become pregnant in a way that pleased God. The father of my child was in and out of my life, coming back with temporary positive gestures that sometimes lasted only a few hours. Often he would leave after horrible actions of cheating and verbal abuse. I was about 4 months pregnant, when I prayed about getting back together with my son’s father. God showed me two roads that I could chose to take—The first road would lead to a dark and heavy-hearted path with a terrifying forest—The second road would be breathtaking, beautifully bright, and like open and clean fresh air. While God showed me the 2 choices that I could take—I chose the dark path. I wanted my child to have a family—I’m sure you are thinking—Why didn’t you choose the sunny road!?!? But, I had already had years of false Biblical teaching at this point and in my mind, I was going to do whatever it took for us to be a family even though, his father was abusive, struggling with substance abuse, and would cheat—I thought I could fix it all!


At the time, I became pregnant, I was a worship leader. Yes, even those in ministry struggle with their flesh. I was in serious emotional pain and confusion, but I led worship every Sunday and I praised God! This is truly where I deeply learned how to praise Him during the storm, and let me tell you—I praised Him! I never missed a Sunday—I kept moving forward and put on a smile that I call “Gods smile”, because without Him, it would not exist!


About a month after I had my son, his father became physically violent on top of all the verbal abuse. He didn’t want to be home, sober or faithful. Every weekend, I obtained a new bruise to replace the one that faded from the time before. His face would literally change and I saw Satan in his eyes. In the midst of Satan trying to break me down, I got right back up. Literally, he would throw me across the room, and I would just stand right back up. I didn’t hit back, I just kept getting back up to face him. Maybe it was a mistake, because it angered him even more, and made the situation worse. But, I had been in abusive relationships in the past where others often blamed me for not standing up for myself. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I wasn’t going to just lay there anymore.


Well, yep—even 6 months later—I still wanted my family to work, but the abuse continued to get worse, and as it did— I did my best to hide what was truly going on in my life. It did help that he wasn’t home much though. Months after the birth of my son, I started going to therapy because he started making me believe that I was crazy and needed help. I sure did need help, but not the kind of help he expected. I didn’t admit to the physical abuse because I knew my therapist would have to report it, and—I was beginning to believe, that I provoked it, therefore—in some way, felt I deserved the way I was being treated. My therapist was a Christian woman, and she helped me see that I shouldn't blame myself because it wasn’t my fault. It took me about 2 more months to kick him out for good—not because of therapy, but because my son got hurt. Most of the time I got hit, my son was in his bedroom, or—I wasn’t holding him at the time when his father became violent. However, this time—he pushed me hard while, I was holding him and his 6th month old little head, flew into the door, leaving a bump that swelled. My thinking at this point was, “It’s one thing for me to be abused—I can take—but for my son to get hurt, it is not OK!” It was extremely difficult because no matter how much you don’t like being abused, you’re so messed up mentally you don’t know up from down. But, I kicked him out and got an order of protection. It has been almost 8 years since that day.  


Unfortunately, we still have to deal with him, but thankfully—it’s from a distance. He still continues to struggle with his flesh, and we continue to pray for him. He’s not very involved father which, is a blessing because he’s not healthy enough even to be a part-time father. I forgave his father years ago, while I was still healing, because it’s not about how I feel—that’s the key to growing spiritually. I want my son to know God is the reason for the path that we are on in life. With all my heart, I want him to know God the way I have come to know Him, so he doesn’t waste his life floating through the world encountering or causing pain because of his own pain or confusion.


God has taught me that forgiveness is not only for me, but also for my abusers. He showed me how they were at one-time victims too. I have learned such a depth of forgiveness with understanding that I never knew before. God has given me strength to realize why I got into abusive relationships. He has healed me, and now uses me to help others! All of the evil that I have encountered, and participated in—He now uses for the good of strengthening me spiritually and others! Today, I not only minister to my son, but also to those in recovery from all kinds of traumas. He uses me as a mind, body, and soul coach to all. He has given me the ability to relate in ways that many cannot. This trial was painful on many levels, but it brought me closer to God, has become part of my purpose, and is one of my favorite testimonies!



Surya's Facebook    LinkedIn    YouTube Videos

Suryanycole@gmail.com






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30Mar

Shelley Sherrill was an extremely timid and shy Christian girl that never seemed to fit in leaving her feeling defeated, judged, severely depressed, and bullied. Even though, Shelley knew Jesus...she began to stray away from Him. A vision of hell began to change everything.



“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”      (Luke 1:45)


**Shelley's testimony is from her YouTube channel giving many hope, encouragement, and faith in Jesus.** 





Shelley is a Fashion Boutique Owner of Estersair in Houston, Texas. 


Shelley's written testimony:


I grew up in a Baptist church and accepted Jesus as my savior when I was 7 years old. As a child, I never really gave God too much thought because I had a wonderful childhood and two loving parents who always provided for all my needs. It was my teenage years that were very difficult and lonely. I stood out like a sore thumb because of my strong convictions to abstain from pre-marital sex and alcohol. Because of that and the fact that I was extremely timid and shy, I never seemed to fit in. I was bullied and severely depressed during my junior high and high school years, but my hope in Jesus was what always kept me strong.


Even though, I was a complete loner and had no friends, I always believed that God had a special purpose for my life. My passion was to be in the fashion industry, and I had hopes to one day become a model. I pursued my dreams for years, and when I was 22 years old, I was chosen to appear on a reality television series featuring Paris Hilton that aired on MTV. The show gave me a platform to share my faith with many celebrities and millions of people on national television and radio. I believed that show would be my big break that would catapult me into my destiny, but after it aired, no more opportunities or doors opened for me.


Instead, I graduated from my hometown university with a business degree, and set out to a new job in corporate America. Once I moved to the big city and got my own apartment, I stopped attending church altogether. There were so many things that pushed me away from the church. I was judged harshly because of my interest in fashion and I felt like people were so fake and judgmental. I began to despise everything about most of the people I knew that called themselves "Christians." I felt like most of them lived defeated lives, following a bunch of rules, and there was so much judgement, hypocrisy and arrogance among them. I became frustrated and disappointed with “Christianity”, so I decided to get a taste of life outside of the church.


I began attending work happy hours and before I knew it, I was constantly clubbing, drinking, and engaging in sexual sin. This lifestyle ushered me down a road of dating abusive men and enduring horrific heartbreak. I realized that type of lifestyle was incredibly empty, and I found myself just wanting to have a family. Fortunately, I met my amazing husband Gary at age 26, and settled down to a life with our three children.


During this time, I did not associate myself with Christianity. I still questioned everything I had once believed about God. I had so many doubts and so many unanswered questions. For years, I was content to just not understand. But then, the rain came.


After the birth of our youngest daughter, Hartlee, I struggled with severe postpartum depression. Even though, I had an amazing marriage, beautiful children, and so much to be thankful for, I found myself in a pit of despair. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me, but the depression was so overwhelming that I feared I couldn’t bear it much longer. There was a gaping hole inside of me and I knew that nothing in this world could fill it. I began to think back to the time when I was younger and so on fire for Jesus. I didn’t have much back then, but I was always happy, at peace, and hopeful for the future. I heard the whisper of God telling me to come back to Him, and inside the deepest part of my soul it was what I, too, wanted. But fear told me that God didn’t exist, and if He did He would not be pleased with me for my rebellion and lack of faith. I believed it would be too hard to repair my relationship with God because of all the mistakes I had made, but the deep longing inside of me decided to give it one more shot.


I got down on my knees in my bedroom and began uttering the first prayer I had said in years. I remember how pathetic I felt, talking to a God—I wasn’t even sure existed. The first few sentences were difficult, but then I just began pouring my heart out. In that moment years of pent up frustration and heartache came flooding out as tears began to soak the carpet beneath me. Moments after praying, my husband returned home from work and we decided to go out to eat for dinner that night. At the end of the meal, our waiter handed us a receipt and informed us that someone had paid for our bill. Written on the receipt were beautiful words of confirmation that God had heard my prayer. I went home that night knowing that God was real, but there were still so many questions I needed answers to.


It’s funny how scriptures will pop into your mind at the exact time you need to recall them. I kept remembering Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” So, seek, I did. In my search for truth I ended up coming across YouTube videos of people who had near death experiences and witnessed visions of both heaven and hell. I was obviously more drawn to the ones about Heaven, and I can remember watching and crying tears of joy and hoping so earnestly that what these people were describing was true. I began to wonder if God might give me a similar experience. My faith was so weak, and I knew that if I was going to follow Jesus, that this time around had to be different. I needed an unshakeable Matthew 7:25 faith, so even if the rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew against it, it would not fall. 


Again, I was reminded of the scripture in Hebrews 4:16 that instructs us to approach God’s throne of grace with boldness, in order that we might receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. So, I went to the Lord and asked Him if He would allow me to experience a supernatural vision. I honestly did not believe that God would grant a request of that sort, but I was truly desperate to strengthen my faith.


Days later, my husband and I traveled to Los Angeles for a vacation to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. While there, I ended up trying a bite of an edible marijuana candy. For hours, I felt completely normal, but at the end of the night, while seated at our hotel restaurant eating dinner, the most overwhelming feeling came upon me.


I began to enter a mental simulation of eternity in hell. The fact that I was in hell was just a knowing in my spirit, much like I know my name and the color of my eyes. They aren’t things that I have to think about, they are just simply known to me. I began panicking immediately and asking my husband how we had died. I couldn’t remember dying. He tried to calm me down and assured me that we were in fact alive and it must be a side effect of the marijuana. As much as I wanted to believe him, he could offer me no comfort. In hell, comfort doesn’t exist. Love doesn’t exist. Your mind is in a perpetual state of remorse of conscience. Imagine every pain, sorrow, shame, guilt, and hopelessness you’ve ever felt on this earth and then magnify it to an unbearable level and that is what I was experiencing, without end. In hell, you are painfully aware of who you are without God and it is horrifying! I felt the gulf of separation between me and God and I wanted to pray and ask for help, for forgiveness, but I knew my pleas would be pointless because He could no longer hear me.


I hoped that the side effects might wear off if I began to eat my food at the restaurant. I remember ordering ravioli and a coke to drink. The ravioli tasted like cardboard. The coke tasted like salt water. Food and drink had lost their flavor outside of the presence of God. I was aware that in God’s presence are all things good—love, hope, peace, comfort, joy. The scripture is true that apart from God you can do nothing. You are nothing. God is the source of it all!


The same way I knew I was in hell, I also knew I was in eternity. I knew that the condition I was in would never, ever change. I think that may have been the most tormenting part of all; knowing that my decisions on earth and lack of faith in Jesus had led me to this place, and it was too late to turn back. I remembered everyone who had ever told me about Jesus, and I was grieved about the choices that I made to rebel and disbelieve. I thought about my children back on Earth and how I would never see them again, and how heartbroken they would be if they knew their parents had ended up in hell. I wanted so badly for one more chance to come back and change my life, and truly choose Jesus this time.


That night, I went to bed still in hell, and in the morning when I woke up the vision was over. I was so incredibly grateful to be alive and to have another chance at living my life, but I was completely terrified at what I had experienced. Fear told me that God allowed me to go through that to punish me, but I knew in my heart it was the answer to my prayer.


I knew that I needed to grow closer to God and that certain changes needed to be made in my life, but I was still terrified and uncertain of God’s love for me. With legs shaking, I fumbled towards the Lord like a baby fawn learning to walk for the very first time. Fearing God’s wrath or a stern chastising, I was truly astounded as instead, Jesus gently kneeled down to groom me.


I began praying and reading my Bible on my own for the first time in my life. This time I wasn’t going to be influenced by outside doctrines and opinions. It was just me and Jesus, searching the scriptures together. As I read my Bible, the words were no longer just ink on an old page. The words were alive, and they were breathing fresh life into me. As I began to spend time in the Word of God, gleaning knowledge of who Jesus truly was, I fell head over heels in love with the Savior. So many people will portray God as angry, displeased, disappointed, and distant, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The more I got to know God, the more I wanted of Him. I began fasting and praying and asking the Lord to reveal to me things I should know about Him.


One day, alone in my closet, as I was seeking the Lord through prayer, I asked Jesus to fill me to overflowing with His love! That day Jesus baptized me with His holy fire, and I received my heavenly prayer language. I began to speak in a new tongue, and as I prayed in tongues I was overcome with emotion. It felt like my entire soul was bare-naked before the Lord, and I began sobbing uncontrollably. As I ceased from praying in my prayer language, I began praying in my regular language and thanking Jesus for His goodness. Suddenly, I felt the tangible presence of Jesus surrounding me, and filling me.


I felt as if I were standing in heaven, overcome with the feeling of peace, joy, and happiness permeating my entire being. In the presence of Jesus is pure bliss. In that moment I knew that Jesus was truly alive, and it was like He was looking at me as if I was the only person that existed. I knew and felt how much I was loved by Him and I was astounded by how kind, merciful, and beautiful He was. I also knew that every answer to my prayer was “YES!” Jesus was saying yes to all the deepest longings and desires of my heart. I literally began to leap into the air with joy and excitement. I couldn’t contain myself, and began shouting “PRAISE YOU JESUS! PRAISE YOU JESUS!” It was a moment I will never forget, and I so very look forward to the day when I can actually see sweet Jesus face to face.



That day the power of God truly touched my life in a way that changed me forever. This journey with Jesus—the second time around—has been completely different. I no longer let other people’s opinions or behavior interfere with my personal relationship with God. I now know that in Christ there is freedom instead of bondage, and I am now fully aware of God’s great love for me and the power I carry because I am His. My life mission is to now help others understand their identity in Christ and God’s true heart for them. Since rededicating my life to Christ, the Lord has graciously allowed me to experience many other supernatural things. I have seen the actual glory light of Christ, I have witnessed angelic visitations, and I have been given many prophetic visions and dreams. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus is the Christ; the one true living God, and the only way to the Father in Heaven. My prayer is that you will reject any idea or experience that has placed fear or doubt of God’s goodness into your mind, and be filled with knowledge and wisdom of God’s truth.


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